Mexican teachers rampage; Thatcher and Reagan

Teachers in Mexico’s Guerrero State have gone on strike and on a rampage in protest of the approval  by the state legislature of a recently passed federal law, that would see teachers evaluated by a nationalized teaching test. Mexican President  Enrique Pena Nieto‘s law would see teachers assessed by a standardized test, rather than the current Guerrero State hiring method that often includes teaching jobs being bought and sold.


The teachers pictured above are clearly highly intellectual, cerebral educators with the students’ education uppermost in their minds. Those who go about smashing windows, fire-bombing offices and hiding behind masks are, no doubt, precisely the kind of people the citizens of Guerrero State would not want to have teaching their children. It’s no wonder The Telegraph referred to Guerrero as one of the country’s poorest and worst-educated states.

Before you jump to the conclusion that this is just a handful of radicals making a lot of noise, consider that the State Education Union’s spokesperson Minervino Moran said:

We as leaders and as a movement endorse these actions because there is a lot of anger, a lot of outrage with the decision the (state) congress made.

I’m certainly not anti-union; I believe that in matters of workers’ safety and ensuring fair pay and working conditions unions are an essential part of our society; a system of checks and balances. An example of this was recounted in the news again recently with the passing of Margaret Thatcher who, by breaking the coal miners’ union, effectively destroyed Britain’s centuries-old coal mining industry costing thousands of  jobs and the demise of entire communities.
Another oft sited example is Thatcher’s contemporary Ronald Reagan‘s firing of the air traffic controllers. According to the New York Times:

Even his closest advisers worried that a major air disaster might result from the wholesale replacement of striking controllers. Air travel was significantly curtailed, and it took several years and billions of dollars (much more than the union had demanded) to return the system to its pre-strike levels.

Thatcher and Reagan were willing to cause thousands of jobs to be lost, and to jeopardize public safety just to show who was boss. In the end, one can argue that the cost to society would have been less if negotiations had been entered into.

That being said, when unions strive to maintain power at all costs, the system fails. It would seem the teachers union in Guerrero State has long been in need of a shake up. The new law looks to get rid of those unqualified for teaching positions, but it is essential that the union remain intact.

If anything good has come of this situation in Guerrero State it is that parents have been forced to home-school their kids. This can only be an improvement on the situation. Those in teaching positions, I can’t refer to them as “teachers” out of respect for that profession, who have put down their chalk and taken up sticks, stones and Molotov cocktails are precisely the kind of folks one might want to keep out of a classroom.

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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